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The escaped felons ,footpads and general low life of society mustered from early dawn at the Coaching Inn ,referred to as the Horseshoes. Friday 13th,being such an ominous date ,the sense of foreboding etched on the weathered faces was plain for all to see......best option clearly to down prodigious quantities of grog from the flowing bowl,refilling the tankards at will until eventually the Landlord ,Baggie 'The Beard' took charge....His huge lungs expanded to full capacity as he burst forth into song...singing in fluent French the famous pre voyage ditty'Parlez Vous'......Not to be outdone,.the Admiral launched into the well known short haul shanty about everyone's girl in port 'Dinah' and the tension and sense of anticipation amongst the crew was plain to hear.

All that was left was to allow the hired portrait painter to sketch out his group for later oiling and the vessels set full sail for the North East with only plunder and adventure in their hearts. Being by far the largest vessel ,The Fleeces,struggled initially in the swell,being hotly pursued by the much more manouvreable sister ship 'the Ewe's Ruminant'(Loveridge at the helm), and the small merchant vessel,The Woolpack(Midshipman 'Easy'Easton) battling with the wake caused up ahead. With the mottley crew members taking time to learn their new roles on board there were bound to be some minor mishaps: it was discovered that there were no adequate buckets for slops on board to take excess personal liquids so frequent visits to the portholes were necessary , Master Aines sea legs (after a shot of a particularly vile grog)  decided to give out on him and much seasickness was realised....

The first island visited was inhabited by strange elderly gentry characters,clearly transported there by uncaring societies who feared contamination.....the crew had to fairly board his craft to prove that they were not a fair race of'Morris Men' and it wasn't until he was blindfolded and was teetering on the edge of the plank that he finally accepted the Pirate nature of the crew. The 'finest looking 'alehouse proved to have no beer with the Ruminant's Helmsmen Loveridge suffering the consequences...With the crew becoming mutinous ,a small tavern was found by 'The Woolpack' and under cover of darkness , all three vessels moored successfully. Within the walls of this friendly hovel the 'getting to know the crew'session proved very valuable indeed.....shots of rum,vodka,bacardi,whiskey, some brandy(parrot was feeling the cold climate) were interspersed with the traditional ales and grog with the first time crew members taking it all full on.......Tactics to try and hide a total lack of knowledge about almost all subjects , include young 'enry 'obill( lack of hearing/awareness ),'Kris'Jumpy Ransome (stagefright),'Heavy Petting' Petty Officer Petty(thinks of animal but voice blurts out alternative)'Fishnet Fetish' Pete Buchanan(Pumpkins Are Not The Only Fruit) and ,of course 'The Parrot.'Glazed eyes fixed firmly ahead for much of the session,and with bits of crackers encrusting his plumage he only fluttered a few times but when he did pirates who were below decks could even hear the ruccus.....In the parrot's birdbrained world Guiness becomes a renowned lager!

With 'Horatio'Hartnell's handing of responsibility at the capstan to the Old Admiral to guide the Fleeces into the final harbour of Whitby,the great leader at Trafalgar seemed to lose all sense of reasoning and discipline and was to eventually find his own hammock at 4.30 the following morning,distinctly'one over the Eight'...only able to hoarsely whisper the name 'Topoff'. It later transposed that there was talk of 'blind women'leading sailors astray,streetfighters in doorways throwing pirates out into the gutter, with other pirates sleeping rough and not making back to their allocated cabin space at all..

The cloisters of Whitby Abbey Monks (Aversion Order) were horrified to be rudely woken at the hour of 3 in the morning by a band of unruly crewmates,wildly led by the irresponsible former Tasmanian Convict 'Drew'The Cutless'Adams..Admittedly he did have quite a group to manage with The Parrot (Nick Kench) being the most difficult. The maids(Monk's Comforters) who kept the place spick and span reported to the Abbot in the morning that this particular cabin(the Notorious Room 18 ,in the rafters itself) as a den of evil ,the likes of which had never been seen in the Priory before...) . Waxen candles -had been used for non religious purposes) and traces of gunpowder ,a tinderbox and pieces of flint had been discovered in the bed linen of the Powder Monkey...! What cannot be disputed is that a pair of fishnet tights(remnants) were found hanging from the bedpost of the parrot and one can only guess what had ensued during the Matins period before dawn!

With the opening of the galley for morning provisions ,accusations of errant night activities began to fly around .Most with little basis of truth to them it has to be said....Why Long Tom Wilson was found in the Communal Relaxing area of the cloisters was never really explained ,nor was the bizarre sight of 'Cutlass' Adams wandering about the open galley still in his night gear? The Old Admiral realised that the crew was beginning to splinter,that they needed pulling back into shape and so he embarked on one of his famous 'Sea Stories'. These lurid tales of adventure ,bravery,excitement,full of highly individual characters lead almost inevitably to a tremendous climax and feeling of wellbeing. And so it proved. Serious skirmishes lay ahead and the crew had to be prepared for hand to hand fighting,climbing bar rails in all weathers,manning the pumps etc and Powder Monkey needed to be working flat out to provide all the ammunition..... In fact,the monkey excelled himself in battle situations,managing to put his cannon ball on the very deck of two rival pirate galleons.!
The Deck Judge,Adie 'bigbag 'Ball set down the rules for battle,Blind Simon was Eye Patched up,The Flash Keg was slid about the decks(Anchorman utterly forgot himself here),Harry 'Barber Surgeon'Morris was questioned on his medical competence for such a role, and most horrifyingly of all,the Old Admiral himself was hauled ,ney manhandled to kneel down in front of the judge under the suspicion of actually leaving the 'Fleeces of Eight' unmanned and open to rival pirate attack.! Master'Gary'Flowers positively relished dangling the ship's keys in front of the whole crew as irrefutable evidence. Unfortunately he then proceeded to find out for himself how devilishly hard it is to stay 'responsible' for too long on these voyages by losing possession of these vital keys within minutes! Any crew member who offered himself up as being clearly responsible to have access to the Treasure Chest,appears to have had the keys on his belt at some stage,before they were secured for good by barefooted Long Tom Wilson!

The fighting in the Whitby drinking den was typical pirate stuff,with the local based judge of skirmishing showing particular skill in preventing the Fleeces crew from gaining any deck advantage. 'Cutlass'Adams threw himself at everything,Topoff emerged from his 'nocturnas horribilis' to scream aggression at anything that moved, Master Aines picked up a flattened ,bloody nose,The two contrasting Petty Officers ,Petty and Petrie,demonstrated that there are two ways to defend your poop deck ...one by gathering the Pig's Bladder(a strange item to choose for a skirmish) and trundling straight back into the fray undaunted and the other, to collect quickly and carefully and simply run at top speed all over the deck avoiding all the other fighting that's going on .

.'.Navigator' Hunt was a rock thoughout all the close combat stuff (stealing the bladder on many occasions) and the crew acquitted themselves exceptionally well....As sometimes happens (maybe the effect accrued of drinking from lead crystal/pressures of the courtroom)...People in the highest positions of society react to the pressures and they 'go mad'....Sad to see this happen but Judge Big Bag' Ball was caught by the local artist running wildly around the decks ,screaming pirate utterances when only scantily clad considering the weather conditions appertaining.(North Sea Sea Spray covering his more tender parts).

The skirmishes themselves petered out pretty tamely after the promise of some testy hand to hand stuff,but with 'Dutch Boy'Dyche's head going green from Scurvy suddenly the captain of the 'Woolpack' was to be seen'off centre'stage being hung ,drawn(certainly) and maybe a bit quartered,by so called 'best mates'!.

A brand new experience of a natural warm geyser of a lagoon greeted the pirates following the cold skirmish and this was much more akin to their Carribean experiences. Some 'salt watered' stong pastried Pies were offered with a delicate fork to try to gain access to the meat within ,clearly just to tempt them to reach for the trusty dagger or even scimitar as an alternative.The local based crew melted into their own backstreets and the town square was left to the Pirates and a raiding party from the River Tyne area to steal the show.......massive drinking contests began.The Pirates attempted to stimulate another skirmish with a dance version of 'Dance to 'yer Daddy' and numerous sea shanties were traded back and forth as all sailors struggled to keep their feet with the swell and the wind being what it was this night.Blind Simon Hartnell and 'King was in His Counting House'surpassed the Geordies 'Sunshine Mountain',but topping the lot was 'Topoff'Sutton with a wavebreaking version of Singin' in The Rain.

With the final chorus fading all begain to drift into other harbour areas,rumour has it some managed to visit nearby towns. It wasn't until the Old Admiral ventured back out into the night on Shore Leave that he began to catch up with a few of his crew..A non native species of bird caught his attention standing with a silver begging bowl absolutely motionless outside the Midland Bank at midnight. When squawked at this bird (whose plumage was somewhat dishevelled it has to be said) paid no attention...unable to repeat a single word of a human's address. Horatio Hartnell (by now recovered from his terrible ordeal of the previous night) and the Old Admiral realised that the tropical bird urgently needed warmth and probably appropriate food.(Crackers scattered around his feet showed that they were not, not now ,his preferred food choice. Gently guiding the Parrot (for it was he) to a nearby Curry House with the waft of asian spices ensuing forth,the parrot began to stir.....

During the next hour and a half 'Mr.P' proceeded to thoroughly amaze the two ancient mariners with his tales of flying over oceans,visiting islands,sampling exotic foods and escaping horrible and cruel masters to achieve security and comfort within his current pirate crew...It also became apparent that 'Mr P'had flown into some mighty strong sails,trees,fallen great heights from perches even during the current voyage. Though this was now very early Sunday morning and the Fleeces of Eight had been at sea since Friday morning,Mr.P could only recall being allocated a 'tamer'at the Horseshoes and eating a Beak Busting Burger at the Island of Mojo(owned by Marks and Spencer)...The previous night and the whole of the Saturday just gone had ,indeed ,just gone! Following rather unorthodox food for a tropical bird (Lambchops as starter and Lamboona as main meal) the Parrot insisted on opening his night wings and (minus begging bowl) venture back into the night to seek out other nocturnal revellers on the wing.

he final morning of the voyage brought the joyous news from Master Flowers that ,though not his fault,the Fleeces of Eight keys were 'of whereabouts unknown'. There then followed a somewhat pointless,but inevitable,chain of statements like ,"Well I did have them at one point,but then I gave them to .......,with that person then piping up with yes,but then...I passed them on to....who continued the tedious and fruitless exercise ...."...Because he wasn't there to defend himself, Long Tom Wilson was blamed. .....His personal belongings were ransacked ,clearly semaphore signalling was out of the question,and there was talk of sending a pigeon to the S.Midlands for vital key information from the ship owners.....until....an unknown pirate with intelligence decided to look through his 'skirmishing bag'....and lo and behold.....we were saved! Long Tom soon arrived and was praised to the Crow's Nest And Higher for his clever and responsible actions in hiding the most important keys of the whole voyage in his kitbag.

ll that remained of the voyage was the long haul back,stopping off for another skirmish(much higher quality altogether,with proper weapons,a fair deck judge and, it has to be admitted ,less grog on board).Limey Flowers( who by now had confessed to being one of 3 identical triplets,insanely jealous of the much more famous and wealthier other two ,who had reached national notoriety over the last few weekends) led the challenge, with a rousing version of the ancient pirate war song 'Blockbusters'. Blind Simon did his best to paint the scene using clear natural autumn colours.Topoff completed the variety of hostel entertainment by treating the returning band of Colt pirates to an introductory game of 'draughts' and the Old Admiral almost jumped ship,treating 'new flash' with contempt as he was offered a role on a voyage the home crew are to embark on next spring!

The trade winds blew favourably on the 'Woolpack' and the 'Ewe's Ruminant',now skippered by Heavy Petting Officer Petty and not the rather shakey hands of Guy'Gunner' Loveridge, to get these two vessels safely back in the Horsehoes Harbour well before the lumbering 'fleeces of Eight'..(Becalmed for some time at the island of Morrison ,S.Barnsley...due partly to a mysterious problem with the tiller which meant that the ship went round and round in circles for a time,before running aground and having to wait for the next high tide to float off)...Luckily a very heavily laden Scottish Laird (Macdonald) happened to have pitched up out of his local area and the crew were able to refill their empty stomachs while they waited..

The truly amazing thing is that the whole crew returned unhurt from this voyage,the limes and lemons consumed at the start clearly helped greatly and the Old Admiral is heavily indebted to all the crew members as every individual one contributed so much to making his last voyage one of his most memorable of a long ,and not always so successful,sailing career.

Old Admiral 'Scab'...this eighteenth daye of Novembre ,the Yeare of Oure Lorde ,1809...Long live the king (even tho' we all know he's completely mad.....)

Also 'Tour Quiz'....

1. What is Pete Buchanan's favourite 'fruit'? Clue: P_ _ _ _ _ _

2. Ian Petty suffers from a rare medical condition...loosely defined as 'animal image/verbal confusion'...(No medication appropriate)
When he sees a picture or visualises an 'Elephant Image' in his head he automatically says the name of another African animal.
What animal is this ? (a Wildebeeste, A lion,a giraffe or a zebra)

3. Guy Loveridge likes to re enact favourite Rock 'n' roll songs in court situations....This year his favourite was a)Great balls of Fire(Jerry Lewis), b)Shakin' All Over (Johnny kidd and the Pirates) c) At The Hop (Danny and the Juniors)

4. Simon Hartnell's favourite children's party game is B_ _ _ _ M_ _ _ B _ _ _

5. Nick Kench likes dressing up.It is more than this...When he was a little child he read the tragic story of Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka (simplified and very abridged,,concerning a boy who wakes up to find that he has become an insect..) ..on the Whitby trip Nick woke up on Sunday morning to find he actually had become a Parrot. Would someone in Shipston please take pity on him,provide him with a nice large cage,some free flying time,,,decent bird food (not supermarket's cheap,dry,cream crackers) and some special plumage cleaner..his new name is going to be a) Captain Flint b)Kes c)Snowy d)Icarus.

6.Kiwi Drew Adams had two very big problems on this weekend tour....all the journey up to Whitby he was insanely worried about what time the Saturday matches kicked off,and he couldn't seem to get out of his night clothes like everybody else,in order to take his place in the communal breakfast canteen,along with many other unknown British 'outdoor citizens' and their families.

On the kick off front did he a) want to know the time so that he could hide b) set his time piece an hour on so that he would have just enough preparation time c) not realise that 'Kick off times' are actually the last thing any sane rugby tourist considers once the trip has started.......

The Pyjamas issue a) do North Islanders still get sewn into their winter clothes once late Autumn has started b) do the 'squares' on his jimjams represent some 'field position tactical board' c) was he so obsessed with kick off times that he forgot to 'day dress'.

7. Why did Will Dyche's Head turn green? a)He ate too many pre voyage limes in the Horseshoes b) He is ,so far,unripe ?
c) The colour acts as a huge pre-puking warning for his species ,so ,stand well clear!

8. Complete the missing words to the Topoff/Dyche Limerick that they worked so hard on (from about Leeds all the way to Goathland and Heartbeat country...where it got lost in the mist...)


Old Jarrovians 7 - 5 Shipston  Pirates
Whitby II's 7 - 7 Shipston Pirates

Wath-Upon -Dearne 12 - 7 Shipston Pirates

This 'Pirates' Theme tour,to the N.E.of England and the historic port of Whitby, was arranged primarily for the benefit of Shipston's 2nd string outfit. The costume effort was second to none and this set the standard for the whole weekend.
Considering that the pirates had no 'concept' of the game of rugby at the start of the voyage,they learnt the art of
grass skirmishing remarkably quickly!O.K they didn't actually capture any other vessels (and the Parrot fluttering about in the 'fullback perch' was ,at times,out of his cage), but they did manage to achieve some notable things. Twice,Andy Gudgeons(Powder Monkey) managed to place the cannon ball on other ships'decks,while a returning convict from Tasmania(Drew Adams) wielded his boarding axe,fired both pistols,fought hand to hand with cutlasses and was finally rewarded with a small treasure chest of his own. Other pirates who grappled with distinction include the Navigator(Andy Hunt),the ship's disguised 'feminine'sailor(Pete Buchanan) and general 'antagonist' of all other rival crews,Darren Sutton..The 'onerable 'Enry 'Obill had the onerous task of kicking the hardened pig's bladder when needed and is right now still soaking his bruised feet in warm brine to deal with the sores that have accrued!

See the full tour report below,... With the names of all guilty villains